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Pets

Best Cat Flea Treatment

Flea collars are not the most effective way to treat a flea infestation in one's home, but they can be a key component in repelling fleas from a feline who is not currently infested. Unfortunately, many of the more powerful flea collars are made with harsh pesticides and chemicals which can irritate your cat's skin and/or cause illness without a significant increase in effectiveness. Furthermore, a cat able to reach its collar while grooming or a child snuggling too closely might accidentally ingest the toxins meant to harm only the fleas. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recommends avoiding collars which include chlorpyrifos, dichlorvos, phosmet, naled, tetrachlorvinphos, diazinon and malathion among their list of ingredients. These organophosphate insecticides have been linked to health problems in cats, including skin irritation, difficulty breathing, cancer and poisoning. That is why I recommend only using flea collars with the goal of repelling fleas and utilizing safer oral or topical methods to treat a flea infestation. The least expensive flea collars often are made with these harsh chemicals and equally little care for safety in design. The best flea collars for cats will be free of harsh chemicals and include a break-away mechanism so the feline can untangle itself from fence lines and tree branches if needed. The collars on this list were chosen based on their treatment method, design, price, and online reviews.

Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control for Cats and Kittens

Frontline Plus for Cats is a blend of fipronil and methoprene, two active ingredients which kill adult fleas, ticks, and lice in addition to the eggs and larvae they leave behind. It is a topical medication which is easy to apply. When applied to the skin between the a feline's shoulder blades, the treatment lasts for up to 30 days, even if exposed to rain. It is reasonably priced, widely available, and does not require a prescription. Frontline is safe for use on cats and kittens 8 weeks and older. It does contain pesticides, so be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after application. Frontline Plus for cats is the best due to its proven effectiveness and the fact it kills ticks and lice in addition to eradicating fleas at an affordable price.

Bayer Advantage II Flea Control for Cats

Advantage II for cats is an excellent topical medication for killing fleas and preventing eggs and larvae from developing. Unfortunately, it does not kill ticks or lice like some of its competitors. Once applied to the back of a feline's neck, it lasts for up to 30 days and is not weakened by exposure to water. It is affordably priced, widely available, and does not require a prescription. Advantage II is safe for use on cats and kittens 8 weeks and older. It does contain pesticides (Imidacloprid and Pyriproxifen), so be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after application.

Capstar Oral Flea Treatment

Capstar is an oral medication which is safe for cats and kittens who are at least four weeks old and weigh two pounds or more. It is adored by owners who dislike the idea of applying a pesticide to their cat's skin or who feel that topical medications are messy, however it too is made effective by the use of pesticides (Nitenpyram). It starts working within 30 minutes of dosing and has few reported side effects. The most common symptom is excessive itching, which the manufacturer claims is a natural reaction because fleas often bite their victim before jumping off in response to the medication. Unfortunately, Capstar only kills adult fleas and must be used in conjunction with an insect growth regulator to achieve the same effectiveness as topical treatments. Capstar is affordably priced and available online without a prescription.

Vet's Best Natural Flea and Tick Home Spray

Vet's Best Natural Flea & Tick Spray is an effective, natural method for treating flea infestations. The proprietary blend of peppermint oil and clove extract kills fleas, flea eggs, ticks, and mosquitoes on contact. It is a bit harder to apply than other topical treatments since it must be sprayed over the cats entire body, including the legs, tail, and stomach, but should not be applied to the face and must be massaged into the feline's fur until it reaches the skin. It will not stand up to water, but is safe enough to be applied as often as desired. Vet's Best Natural Flea & Tick spray is very affordably priced, but not as widely available as the more traditional topical flea treatments.

Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Treatment Collar for Cats

The Seresto flea collar for cats can protect your feline for up to 8 months with the slow release of imadacloprid and flumethrin. Their design avoids the organophosphate insecticides known to be harmful to felines and includes a break-away mechanism. (If stressed, the clips will loosen so the feline can free itself from harm). Although this collar exposes your feline to chemicals the most health conscious consumers would avoid, it receives my vote for the best because it has proven to be an effective method for repelling fleas, avoids the most dangerous chemicals, and is widely available for a reasonable price.

Zodiac Breakaway Flea & Tick Collar for Cats

The Zodiac Breakaway Flea Collar does not contain any of organophosphate insecticides the NRDC has instructed consumers to avoid. It is readily available at pet stores, reasonably priced, and can protect your feline from fleas for up to 5 months. It utilizes propoxur, a non-systemic insecticide which has proven effective for killing fleas but has also proven to be toxic to many birds, fish, honeybees, and occasionally, through prolonged exposure, to children. Consumers who feel occasional exposure to chemicals is a necessary evil will likely be pleased with the inexpensive yet effective results.

Rachel Hoyt
Since birth, I have been drawn to animals' innocent curiosity and sought to befriend every creature which crosses my path, whether domesticated or wild. I have had pets my entire life (cats, dogs, fish, turtles, and a gerbil) and have sought to learn everything I could about all of my friends' unusual pets (snakes, rabbits, birds, ferrets, salamanders, and more). Lying chest to chest with a purring feline is a therapy I can't live without. Staring at the active yet peaceful flow of a fish tank is one of my favorite ways to clear my head. Talking to birds which stare me down or sing me a song is a childish habit I have no desire to lose. I believe in giving pets a life equally lavish to our own, including a comfortable home, nutritious diet, proper grooming, and a bit of fun.
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